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Rogue Valley could see rain this week

Forecasters think a wet weather system expected later this week will do a better job of delivering a dousing dose of rain than the one that tiptoed through the region last week.

Rain clouds that were expected to provide some relief Sept. 18-19 were mostly hit-and-miss across the region, National Weather Service meteorologist Sven Nelaimischkies said. From Douglas County northward, some sites recorded three-quarters of an inch of rain, but Jackson County was left high and dry. Sexton Summit in Josephine County saw about one-tenth of an inch, but the Medford airport continued its long streak of no measurable rain.

“Farther inland and south got very little,” Nelaimischkies said. “With this system coming up here, we’re expecting a bit more.”

The best chance of rain for the Rogue Valley will come Wednesday night and Thursday morning, the Weather Service said. An inch is expected in the coastal mountains, while up to a fifth of an inch is forecast for Medford.

Crater Lake and the Southern Oregon Cascades could see a quarter to a half inch.

“We’re actually expecting some light precipitation amounts east of the Cascades as well,” Nelaimischkies said.

As of Monday, Medford had gone 97 days without measurable rain — amounts of at least one-hundredth of an inch — according to meteorologist Ryan Sandler. That’s the sixth-longest stretch without rain in 129 years.

“We might get through Wednesday ... and tie 99 for number four,” Sandler said. “We might finally see the end of this.”

Wednesday is expected to start with some wind and increased smoke from area fires, especially the Slater and Devil fires in Northern California and southern Josephine County. On Monday, the Slater fire was at 148,583 acres, and the Devil fire was at 7,458 acres. Both were considered 18% contained, according to InciWeb.

Rain is expected in the area of those fires, with estimates ranging from three-tenths to three-fifths of an inch in the Illinois Valley and northern Siskiyou County.

“Definitely with precipitation, (it) should put a dent in the smoke production for a bit,” Nelaimischkies said. “But then as we head into the weekend we warm back up into the 90s and near 100 in western Siskiyou County.”

The Red Salmon Complex, which is burning eight miles northeast of Willow Creek, California, is also sending significant smoke into southwest Oregon, Nelaimischkies said.

Reach Mail Tribune web editor Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com.

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